What is Cupping

Many of America’s most famous olympians have been seen with big, circular, red spots all
‘over their backs and arms. At first | thought these were just odd birth marks, but then |
noticed that not only Michael Phelps had them, so did Alex Naddour too. That is when |
started researching. had never seen this method before. Cupping; what isthe athletic
advantage of this method? While our practice currently doesn’t have a cupping therapy
program it’s certinaly something to be looked into and considered.

Myofascial decompression, better known as cupping, is an ancient Chinese Pain relief
technique. Its used by cup shaped tools to pull toxins like lactic acid and cellular waste to the
surface and be flushed out through the lymphatic system. Denise Jacobs, Doctor of Oriental
Medicine, explained that “the technique is primarily used for pain but is also used for

How is this method performed? There are two methods, dry and wet. Both methods use a cup,
usually glass but more recently by plastic or silicon. itis then placed on the affected area. The

glass is heated and creates a vacuum like suction on the skin. Wet cupping is less intense,
‘only used for a shorter period of time and creates a more mild suction.

So my question during this process is what are the benefits for athletes and why is this
process seeing a comeback in the olympics? On CBS News, Dr. Michael Smith, an Internal
medicine physician and certified personal trainer, explained “The suction pulls the tight
muscles and stretches the fascia, the connective tissue around the muscles, and in effect,
allows blood vessels to expand. The theory is that the increased blood flow speeds healing.”

Even if you believe that cupping doesnt work, just remember how may gold medals Michael
Phelps won during his Olympic competition this year.

  • Veroinca Boomers, Patient Care Coordinator @ our 3 Mile Office